Revitalizing Parkersburg

By: Jillian Risberg Email
By: Jillian Risberg Email

Eighty-four new businesses made their way to Parkersburg in 2012 and that number keeps growing.

"Anytime there's a new business coming in that means somebody's being employed and that's the most important part of what we do in our development department," says Mayor Bob Newell. "Our whole goal is to get new businesses in to create new jobs."

They're working to revitalize and grow the downtown community.

"The On-Trac Committee, the Downtown Development Committee are making some strides and coming up with some positive ideas," says J.R. Carpenter, owner of the Crystal Cafe.

One new business owner remembers the way things were not too long ago.

"The buildings (aren't) crumbling anymore, not parking lots being built, but buildings filling up and not with just offices but also retail stores, more activity," says Jason Wyers, owner of Downtown Specialty Bakery.

From a depressed downtown to new businesses like the bakery popping up every day... Parkersburg is revitalizing itself.

"(There are) a lot of new businesses, new business construction," Newell says. "For the month of January we already have eight that have applied. We have one new business construction and the rest are new businesses that are coming into the city."

Longtime owner Carpenter knows tough times but growth is on the horizon and he's ready for it to happen.

"We have a good employment base downtown right now," he says, adding that they need to expand with some retail and service industries, which will bring more people down -- and more foot traffic means more business and more revenue potential for everyone.

Wyers has ties to the city and now he's reconnecting on a different level.

"I have an appreciation for the history of downtown Parkersburg," he says, "and to see the businesses, the revitalization of that is very exciting."


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